Harry Potter: A New Hope Episode IV
Part Three - The Farm
The inside of the tank was not pleasant, the atmosphere builts up by sloppy repair work, too many creatures crammed into a small space and, of course, the beastly Goblins. Dobby nervously peeked at them from the corner of his eyes, trying to keep Hewig talking to him. The owl, far from being relieved to see him again, seemed far more content to have a nap.
"Hedwig is stupid," Dobby muttered, hoping to goad the owl, but no remark was chittered.
Another violent jolt trembled through the assembled creatures, throwing some against the inside of the tank roughly. Dobby braced himself against the edge and noted with annoyance that his companion had no trouble at all. He began wondering what sort of doom awaited them - torture? The worst, he supposed, was being used as labour. Dobby hated cleaning and cooking.
Suddenly, the tank shuddered to a halt with a grinding wrench. Dobby was lucky not to get thrown to the other interior wall, but was among few. He grumpily prodded Hedwig. "Hedwig, wake up, wake up! Goblins stopped some place."
The owl opened one eye and hooted, annoyed. Most of the creatures did not stir, but shone their eyes briefly for a moment on the opening hatch. Dobby sighed gustily, muttering just two words. "We're doomed."
Hedwig retorted that she was trying to get some sleep and suggested that the house-elf, putting it politely, to shut up or go away. Two Goblins leapt nimbly inside and started prodding the tired creatures up the makeshift ladder. Dobby squeaked nervously and flattened himself against the wall, as if this could hide him. Hedwig merely hooted, flying as far out as she could and willingly let the Goblins tie her down.
Dobby was stock still, but a gestured pickaxe in his direction changed his mind instantly. Outside, there was only rolling green hills of the country with various straggling fences here and there. Low buildings, half built into the ground, made up what looked a decidedly comfy house.
"This might not be so bad," Dobby ventured bravely to Hedwig who, if possible, rolled her eyes.
The house-elf fell silent as a Goblin scurried past, waving his pickaxe at a tawny owl who seemed on the verge of breaking loose. Dobby found looking at the numerous creatures was certainly more interesting than wondering what his fate was. He didn't notice the approaching humans until Hedwig nibbled rudely on his ankle. The first man's description could be summed up as "large, beefy and purple". His pencil thin moustache twitched, the man obviously carrying with him contempt for other species.
Proportionately dwarfed by this man was a thin boy slouching along behind. He had jet black hair and seemed interested by the Goblins, not disgusted as the larger man was. When he tried to ask the other something curiously, he was battered away with a massive hand. The huge man went to the Goblins and almost bowled over the boy in his shadow.
The boy was indifferent, standing off to the side and sneaking looks along the lines of creatures. It was clear he'd never seen anything of the sort in his entire life. Dobby eyed him with an equal amount of curiousity, wondering if he'd seen him before.
"Boy! Get back here, Harry!" a voice called.
Harry sighed and turned away, slouching off to the nearest hovel. He peered in to see a woman with a horse face wielding a spatchel in her hand. She squinted at him suspiciously, "Tell Vernon that if he buys some creature than can translate, make sure it actually speaks Goblin."
"Yes, Aunt Petunia," Harry said resignedly, turning on his heel and marching off to his uncle.
His emerald eyes scanned the creatures again with curiosity and as the wind blew his fringe up, a lightning bolt scar was shown briefly. He made his way over to Vernon who had reached Dobby, looking pathetic in brightly coloured socks and several tea cosies. The house-elf looked terrified, but secretly wanted to go rather than stay with the beastly Goblins and their pickaxes.
"Are you," the large man grunted, "well-learned in menial tasks?"
Dobby babbled quickly, "Of course Dobby is! It's what Dobby gets bought for! Dobby is very good at - "
"I don't need ma-mag-creatures," the farmer spat.
"Dobby doesn't blame you, sir," the house-elf agreed hastily, "but Dobby is hard working and at your service!"
Vernon Dursley looked pained, as if someone was prodding him in the side. He said at last, "I need a servant who can successfully operate farming machinary."
"Farming machinary!" Dobby twittered, pleased. "Then master is in luck, sir!"
The beefy man considered this and paused briefly as Harry muttered something into his ear, too looking pained. His uncle nodded and turned back to the hopeful house-elf again. "Do you speak Goblin?"
The house-elf positively beamed. "Of course, sir! Dobby speaks Goblin as fluent as - "
Uncle Vernon waved a hand at Dobby, knocking him on the side of the head clearly asking that the creature shut up. Dobby complied, pleased to see the money being traded over.
"This one, too," Vernon grumbled, pointed at the tawny owl next to Hedwig who had gone uncharacistically quiet.
Dobby mournfully looked over at Hedwig who appeared as if she couldn't give a toss if the house-elf had to be taken away from her. The house-elf turned up his nose and sidled over to the boy just as Uncle Vernon grumbled, "Boy, I want them cleaned up by supper time."
"But, Uncle Vernon..." Harry took a deep breath. "I was going into Surrey to up some new batteries and surely Dudley could do this instead."
The huge man went purple in the face and hissed, "Don't lie, boy! You'll see your FRIENDS after you finish your chores. Now get to it - and before dinner mind. Dudley is studying and will need that owl later."
Harry fought the urge to snort, but instead muttered glumly, "Come on you two."
Dobby noted the tawny owl's eyes narrowing as it followed at a hobbling sort of hover with the soft wiring stretched across its legs. Harry looked back once to see if they were coming and resumed his slump back to the house in a state of despair. Dobby almost felt for him, really. A minute later, the tawny began screeching loudly, hopping in a circle.
Startled, Harry looked over his shoulder then hurried back. Disgruntled, the boy held the struggling owl out at arm's length. "Uncle Vernon! Look, the owl won't do."
Mr Dursley purpled as he looked down at the pair of them; it was difficult to tell which he despised more - Harry or the owl. He looked angrily at the Goblins who immediately tried to assure some kind of guarantee on it. The huge man's hand twitched on the shot gun he carried under his arm. The Goblins nervously raised their pickaxes up just a notch.
Dobby looked over at Hedwig, suddenly getting an idea. He reached up and tugged Harry on the trousers. "Dobby would like to point out a different owl, master. Hedwig there is is good condition, Dobby promises."
"Uncle Vernon!" Harry called, biting his lip. "How about that one?"
Vernon studied Hedwig through narrow eyes, then nodded, resuming the bargaining with the Goblins. One came and secreted the tawny owl away. Harry shook his head miserably and led the pair towards the house.
"Hedwig better not forget this," Dobby warned the owl.
Hedwig hooted back indifferently. The door on the house opeend up to a long hall, dipping down slightly. Harry took them down past a room where computer game sounds could be heard, mostly consisting of explosions. The small room they came to was obviously Harry's room. The boy shut Hedwig into a cage, looking decidedly sorry for the animal and carried Dobby over to a tub of cold water in the corner.
"Behave yourselves," Harry cautioned them. "I've got work of my own to do."
However, he dropped himself into a chair and ran his hand over a snapped off real spoiler from a racing car he had cobbled together. The car had met its demise against a thick patch of trees after skidding too far on a muddy patch of racing track. Suddenly, he hurled it away, declaring, "It just isn't fair! Cedric is right - I'll never get out of here. He's out there gaining everyone's freedom while I'm trapped here."
Harry shot the owl and house-elf a seething glare as if daring them to challenge him. Only the house-elf had anything to say and it wasn't in debate.
"Is there anything Dobby might do?" the servant offered helpfully.
Harry snorted. "I doubt it, unless you can speed up the harvest or teleport me away to London."
"Ah, Dobby thinks that complicates things." Dobby grinned at him. "Dobby was wondering, master, where we were."
The teen glanced at him, then relaxed, obviously trusting the small creature. "If you were on the Underground at London, this would be the area farthest from."
"Yes, master, sir."
Harry ran a hand through his messy hair, agitated. "It's just Harry. And you're in Little Whinging, Surrey, Sussex."
"Dobby thanks Harry. Dobby is a house-elf and that's Hedwig, Dobby's companion."
Hedwig hooted softly, something she didn't normally do around the house- elf. Harry inspected the owl carefully and frowned, reaching a hand into the cage to bring her talons closer for his viewing. He brought out a file and shaved away at the damaged ones.
"Looks like you've seen some sort of action." He commented dryly.
"Indeed, master - Dobby means, Harry," the house-elf supplied. "Dobby is amazed that we are still alive, what with the Order and all."
Harry looked at him suddenly, an excited smile spreading on his face, demanding, "You know about the Order rebelling against the Dark Mark?"
Hedwig gave Dobby a reproachful glare, reprimanding him with a string of hoots. Dobby admitted slowly, "Dobby came to be in Harry's service by that means."
"Have you - have you been in many battles? What do you do in the Order?"
Harry asked excitedly. Dobby pondered this for a moment, then shrugged. "Dobby recalls several battles, but Hedwig and Dobby have had no place in them, being lowly placed."
Harry seemed disappointed, but hid this well and continued to file away at the talons. He rocked back on his heels for a moment, eye brows raised. Through the bars he could see a carefully packaged mini disk settled in a bundle of paper within Hedwig's other claws.
"That's interesting," Harry muttered, reaching in to grab it. "Were you on a transport or was it - "
He retracted the mini disk much to Hedwig's anger and snapped it into the battered computer console on his makeshift desk. Immediately after double clicking on it, a shaking picture shot up on the screen. It was a girl his own age, with something similar to fear in her eyes. Harry quickly turned up the volume on his speakers.
"Albus Dumbledore," she implored shakily, "Help me. Albus Dumbledore, you're my only remaining hope."
Suddenly, static blasted through the speakers. Harry swore and turned the volume down. The image bounced back into a repeat mode. He gazed at it, then directed his words over to the pair, "What's this all about?"
Hedwig twittered, sounding clueless. Dobby kicked the cage irritably. "What is what! Hedwig was asked a question."
The girl's eyes gazed down at the three of them intently, continually twirling a strand of hair, continually looking worried. Hedwig let off a string of rapid denial or explanation - Harry couldn't tell which. Dobby rolled his eyes and bowed respectively to Harry. "Hedwig insists it is nothing, Harry master. Dobby hears it is an old recording with no meaning. Hedwig thinks we should pay it no mind." T
his, of course, was impossible to tell Harry as he was captivated. He murmured out loud, "Who is she? She's not too bad looking."
"Dobby doesn't know," the house-elf informed mournfully. "Dobby thinks she was a passenger of great importance."
Harry almost completely ignored this and turned to the owl. "Is there any more of this? It's incomplete."
Hedwig glared beadily at the boy, hautily sticking her beak up. Dobby gave the cage another kick. "Hedwig can trust Harry. Harry is master now."
The owl looked thoughtful, then clicked her beak rudely. Shortly afterwards, she emitted some various screeches to which Dobby looekd extremely annoyed. Dobby bowed again to Harry. "Hedwig says she is the porperty of Albus Dumbledore, a resident of these parts. Private message only for Albus Dumbeldore. Dobby does not recall this name, but Hedwig is known to be aggravating at times."
Dobby was regretful, but Harry sat back on his rear, thoughtful, muttering, "Albus Dumbledore..." he brightened, "Say! I wonder if he could be referring to old Aberforth Dumbledore."
"Begging Harry's pardon," Dobby said abruptly, confused. "Harry knows of such a person?"
Harry hesitated. "Not exactly. I don't know any Aberforth but old Ben lives somewhere near Eddenel Lake, an old hermit. Uncle Vernon runs him off with a warning shot if ever he approaches...I wonder who she is," Harry mused. "She must be important; it sounds like she needs help. We ought to hear the rest of the message."
The teen moved the mouse nearer to the keyboard as he clicked the play button again but Hedwig twittered angrily. Dobby translated rapidly, "Hedwig suggests that if an override password was typed in, it might play the message...master!"
"What? Oh yeah," Harry abandoned the mouse, "I guess I could bypass this. What's the password?"
Hedwig would only comply if the cage was unlocked. Harry agreed hesitantly that she couldn't axactly go anywhere. The owl twittered and Dobby squeaked, "Unicorn horn."
The computer winked off suddenly.
"Hey!" Harry cried. "Where'd she go? Play back the message you dumb computer!"
The owl smugly hooted. Harry made for the owl angrily, but the sharp voice of his Aunt thundered down the halls, "Boy! Make the dinner!"
Harry sighed, ejected the mini disk and threw it onto his desk. "I'll deal with you later, Hedwig. Keep an eye on her, Dobby."
Once the teen had gone, the owl hooted plaintively. Dobby looked down at her crossly.
"No," he responded, "Dobby doesn't think Harry likes Hedwig at all. No, Dobby doesn't like Hedwig either."